Thousands of Mexicans took to the streets of cities across the country Saturday to “defend their children” and “defend the traditional family” against the the alleged threat of gay marriage.
The so-called “march for the family” was called by the National Front for the Family, a Catholic organization that was created last May after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto submitted a proposal to Congress to legalize gay marriage nationwide.
The initiative was seen as a move by Peña Nieto to gain popular support amid historically low approval ratings, and was ultimately dropped by lawmakers of his own party.
However, the most conservative wing of Mexico, including the archbishop of Norberto Rivera and other religious congregations, have supported and joined a campaign against the lingering threat of equality—a campaign that has been widely criticized by intellectuals, politician and civil organizations for promoting hatred and violence against the LGBT community.
Members of the National Front for the Family say they represent more than one million families in Mexico and argue that they obtain resources from their own members. However, critics say the participation of the Catholic Church is evident in this political movement, with LGBT activists calling it a violation of Mexico’s secular democracy.